Friday, 9 March 2018

Yay, the West Coast!

I think it was last Saturday, a week since we left home, that we headed from Nelson/Stoke area down to Murchison after brekkie with Ann and Chris. In that week, we had travelled all of 250kms, from Picton to Blenheim and back and then on to Murchison. Talk about laid back travellers - if we went any slower, we would meet ourselves coming back!

The drive to Murchison was taken at corresponding speed, but I am a very considerate motorhome driver in that I pull over at every opportunity to let other drivers pass. It makes sense to do so, otherwise they'll get right up close trying to chivvy me along and that is uncomfortable and annoying for me and for them. I am considering getting a sign made for the back panel which says: "Fear not: I will pull over to let you pass as soon as I can."

We stayed in the NZMCA site in Murchison - nothing fancy, and no electricity but at $3 per person it was worth it. Next time we will stay at the Riverside Motorcamp a wee bit north of town - it has absolutely wonderful reviews on the NZMCA app, so has to be tried.

David decided he would make dinner in Murchison as I have cooked all other meals, apart from 50% of the fruit, yoghurt and muesli breakfasts. So he made moresies, an old McDonald family favourite. We had to phone his sister Ginny in Brisbane to get the recipe (cheese, bacon, onion, egg mixed and grilled on toasted bread), and then my privilege was to sit outside in the shade (it was too hot in the sun, sorry, Irene) and read my kindle with a glass of chardonnay in hand.

Moresies - yummy!

We headed off in the morning for Westport where we needed to be by about noon - we had arranged to meet Paul (of Paul and Leonie fame: we met Leonie in Reefton this time last year, and they came to stay on the boat with us a few months later - a very firm friendship has been struck up). Paul had to deliver something further up the Coast that arvo, so sticking to time was important.

That meant very little stopping on the way, but that drive was amazing! The Upper Buller Gorge is full of wonderful views of the river down below and strong heavy rock that had been cut away to form the road. Such a huge undertaking way back when the road was first built sensibly following the course of the river - because at least that would lead to the sea ... Of course it does depend which end they started from, doesn't it?
The Buller River down below the road.

A poor photo from the moving vehicle, but you get the idea (will take a better one on the way back). In vain did David try to convince me that a swing bridge would be stronger. Paul backed me up in discussion later and said he regularly drives 20T vehicles over that one way bridge and it is solidly built - hence it hasn't been replaced.

This is the Blackwater River, with a pretty impressive sweep.

There we are - well, David is - I was on the bridge taking the photos

We arrived in Westport just after noon, and were welcomed to Chez Avery by Paul who informed us that Leonie was expecting us to stay in the house rather than in the motorhome. On viewing what we declared to be the West Wing we instantly decided that we could cope with the luxury of a large beautifully appointed bedroom with ensuite and a separate bathroom and toilet. We declared to Paul that we were moving in permanently! That impression was strengthened when Paul casually said that we should use one of his Toyota Landcruisers while we were with them - that was very generous and made a big difference to our sightseeing.
Their lovely home that Leonie designed. They were hit hard by Cyclones Fehi and Gita, with a tidal surge coming up the estuary and on to their property. Leonie's garden was hammered by salt water. Stoically she says now has the opportunity to redesign it. As she fully expects that more storms will come (I blame Trump), she is going to lift the level of the gardens.

Out at dinner, David and Paul

and Leonie and me.

As it was we stayed four nights and are returning to take up residence again on our way back through to Picton via Nelson.

Suffice it to say, the Averys are wonderful people.

1 comment:

Catherine VK4GH said...

For your next trip, venture further up the west coast by road, it goes all the way to Karamea, not sure about the motorhome though. Great scenery, old coal mine areas. For the a bit fit and active, there is also a walk along the old Charming Creek. Up the mountain is the old coal town of Denniston at the top of the railway incline. Also not sure about taking a motorhome up there, you would have to ask locals. Burnetts Face, Seddonville and Denniston are where my family lived before WWII.